St Andrews Fairtrade contribution

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University purchase of fairly traded rice sends children to school in Malawi

Written by Sarah Duley, Sustainability Officer, Estates and University Fairtrade Steering Group Chair

The University of St Andrews has recently begun sourcing some of its rice for hall meals from a company called Just Trading Scotland.

rice challenge2Just Trading Scotland is a Fairtrade wholesale and retail company specialising in Trade Justice and Food Security. They see trade as vital in rectifying the current global injustices and inequalities between the developed and developing world – from their website: “at its best, trade creates international networks of people who work to develop their skills, their resources and their communities; through trade they can work their way out of poverty, develop economically, educationally and politically” – and therefore strive to offer their suppliers free and fair access to Western markets.

Just Trading has close links with rice growers in Malawi and over the years has helped them establish trading links and networks with Western suppliers. The reliable and regular profits from these buyers mean that farmers in Malawi can improve their buildings, buy more seeds and tools and to pay for secondary education for their children. Just Trading have launched a project to further support Malawian rice growers and to promote the idea of ‘fairly traded’ goods. Their ‘90kg rice challenge’ encourages schools, community groups, churches, Universities and other organisations to buy 90kg of rice – the amount of rice sold that would enable a farmer to pay for a year’s secondary education for one child.

The University of St Andrews Catering Dept. has taken this up and currently uses this fairly traded Malawian ‘Kilombero’ rice in some hall dishes. To date the University has bought 350kg of rice, enough to send 4 children to school for a year! Association President Freddie Fforde and member of the University Fairtrade Steering Group said “this is fantastic news and I am very excited that the University Catering Dept. has taken this project on. The University is proud of its Fairtrade status and we welcome these kinds of socially beneficial procurement decisions”.

If this sounds pretty interesting to you and you want to find out more we have just the event for you. On February 28, as part of Fairtrade Fortnight, the founder of Just Trading Scotland is coming to St Andrews to deliver a talk entitled: Ricing to the Challenge: What UK markets can do for African farmers. This event is free and will be held in School 3 at 7pm. Hopefully we will also have some of the Just Trading Kilombero rice for you to buy!

rice challenge

Recipe – Vegetable Nasi goreng
Serves 4

2 eggs, beaten
20g red chillies, shredded
½  onion, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
20g fresh ginger, minced
100g mushrooms, sliced
1 pepper, sliced
1 spring onion, sliced
250g Kilombero rice
1 tbsp   brown sugar
1 tbsp   soy sauce
2 tbsp   sweet chilli sauce
¼  cucumber, julienned

Boil or steam the rice until cooked, then drain well and reserve.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in a large non-stick pan. Pour in some of the beaten egg to make a really thin omelette, then roll the omelettes up together and slice into thin ribbons and reserve.
Mix the brown sugar with the soy and the chilli sauce until dissolved.
In a wok or frying pan, heat some oil and cook the onions, garlic, carrots, mushrooms and half the chilli for 4 minutes. Add the rice and cook for another 2 minutes.
Pour in the sugar and soy mixture and stir through the rice.
Pile onto a serving dish or divide between plates and top with the omelette ribbons, cucumber and the rest of the chilli.
Bon appetite!

Note: Shredded cooked chicken, beef, prawns or tofu can also be added to this dish for added protein.

Dates for the calendar

  • Fairtrade Fortnight: February 25 to March 10
  • Just Trading Talk: ‘Ricing to the Challenge: What UK markets can mean to farmers in Africa’. Thursday 28 February, School 3, 7pm
  • Film night: Screening of ‘Black Gold’ plus discussion and Fairtrade baking! Thursday March 7, Buchanan Lecture Theatre 6.30pm

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